SBI opens a case against Yurash for fabricating evidence against UOC cleric

Ex-Director of the Department of the Ministry of Culture for Religions and Nationalities Andrei Yurash. Photo: Priamyi

The SBI opened criminal proceedings for forgery against the ex-official of the Ministry of Culture Andrei Yurash in the case of Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy.

On September 10, 2019, “Vesti” reported that the State Bureau of Investigation had opened a criminal investigation against the former director of the Department of the Ministry of Culture for Religions and Nationalities Andrei Yurash for falsifying the case against the head of the Department for Interfaith Dispute Resolution at the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy.

According to the edition, the reason was the conclusion (“Religious conclusions”) issued by Andrei Yurash back in 2017. According to sources in law enforcement agencies, the name of the Department for Interfaith Dispute Resolution at the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy appears in the document.

Based on Yurash’s“conclusions”, two years ago, a case was opened against the priest: he was given a notice of suspicion under Art. 161 of the Criminal Code (Violation of citizens' equality based on their race, nationality or religious preferences). The journalists failed to get the document itself, but they suggest that it refers to an interview of Father Victor and his participation in the films directed by Arkady Mamontov (RF) “Persecution” and “Operation ‘Mazepa’”.

This document formed the basis for the criminal case against Yurash, which is currently being investigated by the Shevchenkovsky Police Office of Kiev: according to charges in the case, “... the official of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, intentionally, in order to provide the pre-trial investigation authority with the possibility of artificially creating prosecution evidence, used his position against the interests of the service, violating his direct responsibilities, acting to create a negative image of the religious organization "Kiev Metropolis of the UOC" by discrediting its leading clergymen, made a document entitled "Religious Conclusions", which harmed ... Zemlianoy V. A."

The fabrication was revealed in the spring of 2019 when the SBI decided to study the issue of the legality of the criminal prosecution of Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy. “As a result, the criminal case was already opened against the prosecutor and the investigator who were working the Fr. Zemlianoy case, and they suddenly started talking,” the source in the law enforcement agencies said. “Firstly, they have a common position: "We are performers, and the order came from Kiev." Secondly, they gave the names of Andrei Yurash and Viktor Kononenko, deputy head of the SBU.”

The political analyst Ruslan Bortnik commented on the information: “Yurash is a very toxic figure for the new government. It needs not just an official but a new face. Even with the same messages that Yurash had, but such that do not cause such aggression and rejection in a large part of society, and above all with UOC believers.”

As reported by the UOJ, on August 5, 2019, the Office of the Security Service of Ukraine in the Rovno region gave Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy, head of the Department for Interfaith Resolution at the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC, a notice of suspicion of inciting religious hatred.

The suspicion notice contained the wording of Part 3 of article 300 and Part 1 of article 161 – incitement of religious conflicts and the distribution of illegal literature. Another subpoena of the SBU informed on a change of the suspicion within the criminal proceedings initiated against the clergyman 2 years ago, which expired on August 15, 2019.

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